Comfort Nursing

Baby Keeps Comfort Nursing!

The Comfort Theory in Nursing

Breastfeeding provides comfort, contentment and relaxation to babies. Breastfeeding can also calm and reassure them.

Non nutritive suckling, also known as "comfort sucking" is as important to any baby, as the nutrients received from breast milk. Comfort breastfeeding only becomes a problem, when the mother feels its a problem.

Lots of skin to skin contact and kangaroo mother care is recommended. 

A mother need to keep in mind, that extra nursing is not always a sign of comfort sucking or low milk supply, it may also indicate a growth spurt, therefore, her baby will be hungry more often.

Non Nutritive Sucking Benefits

The benefits of comfort nursing

  • The baby learns to trust and interact.
  • It improves parental attachment and bonding.
  • As mentioned above, it is comforting and reassuring.
  • It decreases a baby's heart rate, which helps him/her relax and sleep.
  • It improves mouth and jaw development.

Sometimes a mother might feel a little guilty for breastfeeding her child to sleep, fearing that she is allowing a bad habit to form. Why not use breastfeeding to get your baby to sleep? It comes in very useful!

Feeling Overwhelmed?

How to limit nursing for comfort, if the mother feels overwhelmed

  • Carry your baby in a sling, this will provide assurance to your baby, and he/she might not need to seek as much comfort from the breasts as before. Read more about sling nursing.
  • Recognize the signs of sleeping at the breast, such as: flutter sucking, facial grimaces and twitching muscles. This will ensure that you don’t get stuck comfort nursing, while your baby is sleeping. (that's only if you don't want to comfort nurse)

Using a Dummy

Using a dummy as a soother, instead of breastfeeding for comfort

  • Try to avoid the use of a dummy for the first six weeks; using a dummy can sometimes result in a baby drinking less at the breast, which could cause a low milk supply. 
  • It’s okay to use a dummy after this period, if the constant comfort nursing becomes a little too much for you. (just remember, weaning from a pacifier may be difficult for some children)
  • Only use a dummy if your milk supply is fully established.

Baby is Not Drinking Enough!

What if your baby is falling asleep while breastfeeding, and is not drinking enough?

  • Try “switch nursing": When your baby starts to fall asleep, you can switch him/her to the other breast, this will usually wake a baby enough to stimulate a let down on that breast.
  • Try breast compression: This will keep your milk flowing, which will keep your baby drinking.
  • Try tickling your baby’s feet and/or putting a cold facecloth on his/her's feet.

Can you overfeed a breastfed baby?

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